Denis Blundell

Sir Denis Blundell
12th Governor-General of New Zealand
In office
27 September 1972 (1972-09-27) – 5 October 1977 (1977-10-05)
Prime Minister Jack Marshall (1972)
Norman Kirk (1972–1974)
Bill Rowling (1974–1975)
Robert Muldoon (1975–1977)
Preceded by Sir Arthur Porritt
Succeeded by Sir Keith Holyoake
Personal details
Born 29 May 1907(1907-05-29)
Wellington, New Zealand
Died 24 September 1984(1984-09-24) (aged 77)
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Nationality New Zealand
Spouse(s) June Halligan, ONZ QSO GCStJ
Profession Lawyer, Diplomat
Military service
Allegiance New Zealand Army
Service/branch 2 NZEF
Years of service 1939–1944
Rank Lieutenant-Colonel
Battles/wars World War II

Sir Edward "Denis" Blundell, GCMG, GCVO, KBE, QSO (29 May 1907 – 24 September 1984) was the 12th Governor-General of New Zealand from 1972 to 1977.


Early life and family

Born in Wellington to Henry Percy Fabian Blundell, grandson of Henry Blundell, founder of The Evening Post.[1]

Denis attended Waitaki Boys' High School and Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. He studied law and was called to the Bar in England in 1929. He did not practise in England however, and returned to New Zealand in 1930, practising as barrister and solicitor in Wellington. He was a partner in the Wellington law firm of Bell Gully from 1936 to 1968. During World War II he was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the 2 NZEF, from 1939 to 1944.[citation needed]

He was President of the Wellington District Law Society in 1951, President of the New Zealand Law Society for six years (1962–1968) and Vice-President of the Law Society of Asia and the Pacific 1966.

Sir Denis was a gifted cricketer, and played first class cricket for Cambridge University and Wellington from 1928 – 1938.[2] He was later President of the New Zealand Cricket Board 1959 – 1962.

He married June Halligan in 1945; they had a son and a daughter.

High Commissioner

Sir Denis was appointed by Prime Minister Keith Holyoake as High Commissioner for New Zealand in Britain and Ambassador to Ireland in 1968. In 1972 he returned to New Zealand.


Sir Denis Blundell opens Reevedon Home, Levin, 18 October 1975.

Blundell was appointed in 1972 by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of her Prime Minister Jack Marshall to the office of Governor-General of New Zealand. Leader of the Opposition, Norman Kirk did not support the appointment, because of Sir Denis' friendship with the Prime Minister. At his swearing-in ceremony, the Prime Minister referred to Sir Denis as "a close personal friend over many years in the law, in the battle of the EEC and in many a battle on the golf-course".[3] Blundell was the first New Zealand-born and resident Governor-General, and his appointment prompted David Lange to say "it sort of made us somehow mortal. A man who was a lawyer and the son of a newspaper publisher could become the Queen in drag."[4]

Blundell was the first Governor-General to appear on the electoral roll, for the 1972 general election, although it is unclear if he voted (under New Zealand electoral law a citizen is only required to register to vote).[4] In office, Blundell dispensed with the traditional plumed helmet, stating "I'd feel an awful Joe underneath one of those hats."[4] Instead, he wore a plain uniform, and usually only for visits to military bases.[5]

His term ended in 1977.

Later life

Sir Denis Blundell died in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, in 1984; he was survived by his wife and children.




  1. ^ "BLUNDELL, Henry Percy Fabian". Te Ara. 
  2. ^ CricInfo profile
  3. ^ Margaret Hayward (1981). Diary of the Kirk Years. AH & AW Reed. 
  4. ^ a b c Gavin McLean (November 2006). The Governors: New Zealand's Governors and Governors-General. Dunedin: Otago University Press. ISBN 1877372850. 
  5. ^ "Sir Denis Blundell". NZ History Online. 6 June 2007. 


  • The Story of Bell Gully Buddle Weir by Julia Millen (1990, Bell Gully) ISBN 1-86934-026-4
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Porritt
Governor-General of New Zealand
Succeeded by
Sir Keith Holyoake

External links

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